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REVIEW: Tubby Tom's - Squealer

Passing through Gloucester Services recently I noticed local producer Tubby Tom’s and picked up a couple of sauces. This one’s their original, a Scotch Bonnet-based everyday sauce, deep orangey-red in colour and a perfect pouring consistency - none of those Singularity Everyday mishaps. It has a slightly tomatoey flavour, but mostly it’s smokiness beginning to end. These are the flavours I’m coming to expect from everyday hot sauces - the smoked paprika and garlic - and this one has smoked salt too. They’re flavours that go with just about everything.

The heat cannot be ignored. Too much can catch the tip of your tongue but it doesn’t kill the flavours of the food with its intensity. I’d love to be able to make something like this when I start harvesting in September.

The label has the brand’s face image on it - presumably Tubby Tom himself - with war paint, crossbones all over the place, and a sealing design covered in coffins, flames, skeletons and cobwebs. (Not quite sure what the cobwebs signify here - nothing much to do with hot sauce. The skulls, etc. fit in with the risk-of-death aesthetic hot sauce companies like, but the cobwebs are just generic spooky, aren’t they?) The main image is done in a grotesque cartoon caricature style - a kind of aesthetic that started coming out of some illustration departments a few years back - and a style that’s on quite a few sauces. I know I’ve seen it on a Thicc and a Singularity sauce. It does have one nice subtle element, which is the skeleton that you can only see behind the main face in good light. It’s a nice effect, but the whole skull and death thing on these sauces is starting to make me cringe. I can’t be the only one, can I? I like the style of the sealing spot illustrations, but again the subjects are hot sauce cliches, threatening the user with death and pain. And spiders. (What is that cobweb about? Did someone glitch into generic horror themes?)

Tubby Tom’s have a hot sauce for every occasion and I’m going to come back to them later in the season when they’ve made more. The Chipotle Ketchup looks good, as does the Black Garlic and Habanero, and the Candied Jalapeno - and I haven’t even started on Buffalo sauces yet. This company has at least three!

I’m being critical of the design but I’m really looking forward to exploring more of these sauces. A definite recommend if you’re passing through Gloucester Services, and a good price. If you buy through their website you can buy a 2.7 litre ‘jerry can’ of the stuff and you have way more options than if you buy in the services.

£4.50 per 150ml / £29.97 per litre.

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